(JTA) — The owner of a kosher sandwich shop in New Jersey claims that his kosher certifying agency threatened to pull his certification for hanging an Israeli flag outside his store.
The saga started last week at the South Side Sandwich Shop in Lakewood, a South Jersey township with a large haredi Orthodox population. The shop hung the flag for Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, alongside an American flag and a drab olive green flag of the Israel Defense Forces. The IDF flag had been hung for Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day.
Shop owner Yosef Mutterperl told the Yeshiva World News that he was told by the Kashrus Council of Lakewood that “if he does not remove the ‘Zionist’ flag, he should remove the Kashrus certification off his wall.”
Mutterperl told Yeshiva World News that hundreds of people came to the store on Thursday to support him and that he has never sold more sandwiches in one day.
Yeshiva World News said its calls to the Kashrus Council were ignored.
According to the Matzav Jewish news website, the effort to have the flag removed began with individuals calling the Kashrus Council, which asked for advice from one of its “senior rabbinic advisers.” The advice: Since the shop was located near the haredi Lakewood Yeshiva, the flag should be taken down.
The website “confirmed that claims that the KCL would pull its hashgacha (certification) from the establishment if the store did not adhere to the request are false.”
Some haredim do not recognize the State of Israel because they are waiting for the Messiah to establish a Jewish homeland.